Today’s healthcare providers are catching up to the retail world, which has decades of experience providing a higher standard of customer service to meet escalating expectations. As a crucial enabler to drive the required transformation, providers are increasingly leaning on BPOs for their people,process, and technology expertise.
In 2017, an Indian hospital chain was looking for much-needed operational and patient engagement expertise. As a first-time outsourcer, the provider chose HGS as a partner that brought years of proven success transforming provider operations.
Before partnering with HGS, each of the client’s hospitals was booking appointments and working in silos. The client was not forecasting call volumes, and there were no scripts for agents. To resolve these issues and improve efficiency, the client was looking for a partner that could streamline and organise appointment booking, manage calls better, and provide better call volume projections. The client required HGS to:
• Identify inefficiencies in the current contact centre set-up.
• Suggest solution packages to remedy inefficiencies (at both HGS and client level).
• Identify quick value-add opportunities at a process flow level.
• Suggest robust systems/technologies to enable value added service delivery.
• Reduce attrition/prompt backfilling.
• Reduce abandon percentage.
• Reduce AHT.
How We Do It
For a more consistent and standard customer experience, HGS adopted a model that centralises all the units and centres of the hospital chain across India. Centralisation also enables an easier measurement and benchmarking for efficacy of resolution. This more uniform operating model was designed and implemented to drive a better resolution rate and efficacy. Before partnering with HGS, the client’s hospitals were remotely managing customer calls and booking appointments individually. The newly centralised model now directs all customer calls to one HGS-operated appointment desk. Since the client is a first-time outsourcer, HGS applied a phased approach for the onboarding process to build trust and ensure smooth transition. The first phase of client units was on boarded in March
2017, and we continued to add more units every month and finally completed the onboarding process in September 2017.
The CRM suite provided by the client is used to store doctors’ information, for appointment booking, rescheduling, and cancellation. Customer calls from all numbers are routed to HGS, enabling a single point of interaction and appointment booking. This helps in ruling out overlaps and information accuracy issues. HGS now employs the CRM to ensure that all the relevant customer data is hosted on one platform.
The application of a centralised model helps us pool resources and forecast needs better leading to 97% calls being answered at a rate of 5,200 calls every day. We book 1,196 appointments for the client every day. The CRM central data hosting now contributes to easier data availability.
2. Taking more initiatives and providing value-adds
How We Do It
Outbound calls to client health camp lists are done with the same inbound headcount to improve agents’ utilization. We also assist appointment booking through other portals. Additionally, we implemented One View, a performance automation tool, to reduce dependency on Excel sheets for doctors’ availability. As a result, our agents are more accurately booking appointments
Due to the initiatives taken and value-adds provided by HGS, agents were able to book appointments more efficiently and accurately.
3.Established process flow for each enquiry type
How We Do It
We have established a different process for each enquiry type: new patient, existing patient, health check package enquiry, service enquiry, and appointment booking. We identified quick value-add opportunities at a process flow level and had agents adhering to the specific workflow depending on the type of enquiry the customer calls with. HGS also developed an agent knowledge bank with doctor’s details, hospital address, doctors in each department, and scripts for different scenarios and agents have to mandatorily refer to this.
Setting up and streamlining processes for each type of customer enquiry brought response consistency and handling, to drive an achievement of 85% score in service levels.
4. Handling seasonal surge in call volumes and increased efficiency in handling call drops
How We Do It
We realised that language requirements under the centralised model need reliable predictions to handle customer requests for different languages during interactions. This was helpful in handling calls from different parts of India. Additionally, we addressed the fact that, due to various issues, sometimes customer calls get dropped. We now have a policy in place to make outbound calls for each call that is dropped and we get back in touch with the customer. During peak hours, some calls are waiting in line and cannot be attended. HGS created a process to address this. We generate reports from the dialer and make outbound calls are made to numbers that haven’t been attended to.
Due to the phased onboarding approach, the call volumes were initially low, but once the onboarding process was completed, the volumes increased in relation to the initial numbers. However, since this is a healthcare client, the surge in call volumes is seasonal based on certain time periods in a year when the client’s customers are more likely to fall ill due to weather induced illnesses (mostly from March to– September). Call volumes are also affected by the numerous health camps conducted by the client because more customers call the toll free number to book appointments after they attend these health camps. We now answer an average of 94,000 calls every month. And there is clarity on peak call volume periods and enhanced knowledge of the client’s health camp schedule, so HGS is prepared to handle fluctuations in contacts.
Due to our efficiency in handling call drops, the call abandonment rate is at a low 5%.
5.Systematic and comprehensive training to agents to increase and maintain efficiency
How We Do It
Agents hired for this client’s process are first taken through the induction, which includes an orientation about HGS and the client. The foundation of the training includes soft skills, communication specifics, and quality customer care. Agents are then trained on the client products in product training, system training, certification, and on-the-job training. We ensure that training, whenever required, is provided by implementing training need analysis, coaching and feedback, upskill training and management updates. Performers who score high are rewarded through the rewards and recognition programme.
With HGS’s enhanced training, we were able to build a multi-layered, comprehensive training programme that is helping us achieve a quality rate of 85% for this client.
The client, impressed with HGS’s handling of seasonal peaks in call volumes and overall quality of service, is now running more health campaigns than they were doing before HGS began contact centre operations for this client. The client is confident of HGS’ capability in handling surge in call volumes and quality performance.